How to Recover Missing Files from SD Card?

Have you accidentally formatted the wrong SD card or deleted an important file that was stored on it? Here’s how to recover missing files from SD card in time.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Why did my files disappear from my SD card?

If you are using SD cards to store and transfer files from digital cameras to computers, then you more or less would have experienced file loss from SD cards.

Be it from accidental deletion, virus attack, system crash, or other reasons. Users are constantly suffering from memory card data loss. Many users need approaches to recover missing files from SD cards. Luckily, this post will show how to find lost files on SD cards. But before that, it is necessary to discuss the causes.


How to recover missing files from SD card [4 Ways]

Before the solutions and instructions to recover data from SD cards, some notable things are offered for you.

Simply put, to recover missing files from SD cards, you could rely on your backups, commands, or, more conveniently, SD card recovery software.

Firstly, check if you have made backups of the essential data on the memory card. If not, then check out the dos and don’ts below and start SD card data recovery.


  • Please do not disconnect the SD card while it is running/writing data.
  • Please do not add any other items to it after data loss.
  • Don’t try to format it.
  • Now, please check these methods to get your files back.

▶ Solution 1. Recover missing files from SD card easily

For the sake of efficiency, convenience, and safety, we choose MyRecover as the recommended SD card data recovery app. It is professional, effective, comprehensive, and easy to get started. With it, you can scan and recover missing files from SD cards within seconds to minutes.

Step 1. Download and run MyRecover.

Run Myreocver > connect your SD card to the PC > hover the mouse over the SD card > click Scan.

external hard drive start scan

Step 2. Select the SD card and scan it.

It scans the SD card with Quick Scan & Deep Scan to respectively locate lost and deleted files.

external hard drive scanning

Step 3. Choose the target files and select a destination to recover them.

Select a new location to store your recovered data. After that, click on the Recover X files button to begin the recovery task for SD card.


Within just 3 steps, you could quickly and effortlessly fix the SD card files missing issue. And it covers a wide range of data loss situations, including deletion, formatting, virus infection, and system crash.

What’s more, this excellent software could impress you in more aspects.

Supports data recovery from all storage devices: HDD/SSD/memory card/USB flash drive, etc.
 Recover 200+ types of data, including photos, videos, documents, compressed files, etc.
 Restore deleted files efficiently and meanwhile, keep the original filename/directory/format/quality.
 Compatible with all Windows OS: Windows 11/10/8/7 and Server.
 Work perfectly with NTFS/FAT32/exFAT/ReFS, etc.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download      

▶ Solution 2. Unhide data on SD card

Except for deletion, you may also find SD card files missing for many reasons. For example, if the SD card is infected by viruses, your files might get invisible because they were hidden.

In this case, you need to unhide the files from the SD card. Follow the steps to do so.

Windows 7 users can also follow the detailed guide to show hidden files in Windows 7.

Step 1. Please open This PC by pressing Win+E > head over to the specific folder > View > Options > View > Advanced settings.

Step 2. Check the option Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


Then check if your wanted files are visible now.

▶ Solution 3. Try searching for lost files in File Explorer

If the method above fails to unhide your wanted files, they might be moved to other places by viruses or due to human error.

Try searching for them in File Explorer will be a good option. Here we will take searching for pictures on SD cards as an example.

>> Launch File Explorer/This PC > open the SD card > input the image file extension .png or the file name (if you can recall) in the search box > press Enter > click Kind under the Search Tools > Pictures.


All corresponding files will be shown. Thus you can find If you have saved Excel file but can’t find it, this method will be helpful.

▶ Solution 4. Recover missing files from SD card with Windows File Recovery

Also, you could use commands to get files back from SD cards if you are familiar with commands/parameters. Using the Recover command in CMD is one feasible method, but it can only restore one file at a time, which is pretty inconvenient.

So here, we would better use Windows File Recovery, which uses commands to scan the hard disk for lost files. It is a command-line utility with no graphical user interface, making it somewhat hard to use for ordinary people.

Info about syntax, recovery modes, and switches are detailed in the “How to use Windows File Recovery” guide; refer to it to get help.

It requires Windows 10, version 2004 (Build 19041) or later.

Step 1. Connect the SD card properly if you have unplugged it > go to This PC > right-click the SD card > click Properties.


Step 2. To decide which recovery mode to use, refer to the chart below. If you are using non-NTFS SD cards, please choose Extensive mode.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Use switches to target the files you need faster.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get to install Windows File Recovery.


Step 5. Enter the command to scan the hard disk.

Command format: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

Source drive: the SD card.

Destination drive: please select another place to store the recovered files to avoid overwriting.

E.g., input winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg


This command could help you recover lost pictures from SD card free. All recovered photos will be stored in the D: drive. Filename and paths will be lost.

Meet any errors, check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting tutorial to fix them.

Above are the methods to recover missing files from SD cards. Besides, there is some more related info that is helpful.

Possible causes of file loss on SD cards

Multiple factors can lead to files disappearing from SD cards.

Deletion.  You might have accidentally deleted or intentionally deleted files but later regretted it. In general, windows official tools and professional data recovery tools can help users recover accidentally deleted files.

◆ System crash. System crashes can interrupt the data reading and writing to the SD card, thus leading to file corruption/loss. If so, a corrupted SD card recovery process is necessary.

◆ Virus attack. Malware and viruses will maliciously modify/hide/delete the files on your SD card.

◆ Physical damage. Scratches on the SD cards will cause bad sectors and data on it will be corrupted or lost.

◆ Disk formatting. After formatting, all items on the storage devices will be removed. SD cards that are quickly formatted could be recovered. The process is similar to recovering data from pen drive after format.

FAQ about recovering missing files from SD card

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.